Connector and Cable Genders Explained

It's always been a bone of contention, is that connector a male or a female one ? Well I'll try and explain, the difference between Male and Female connectors is simple. Just like people the Male has a sticking out “pin” which he plugs into something. The Females on the other hand have a “hole” in which to receive something, usually a “pin”!

So using that as my standard, for molex crimps and connectors 

Female Male

Similarly for ATX and PCI crimps and connectors, using a 6 Pin connector as an example

Female Male

Some supplies and manufacturers describe their products with the genders reversed, and I've even seen some web sites describe a connector as male with female crimps!

See also the following wiring documents here on this site

Molex wiring

ATX 4 pin wiring

PCI 6 pin wiring

PCI 8 pin wiring

ATX 24 pin wiring

3 and 4 Pin Fan wiring

Now for cables, how can you tell if a cable is male or female? Well using the following

A male connector is commonly referred to as a plug and has a solid pin for a centre conductor. A female connector is commonly referred to as a jack and has a centre conductor with a hole in it to accept the male pin. So just like the crimps described above. 

Here is a link to a short video that explains it fully - enjoy !

Extension cables, on the other hand, are always male to female (M/F), one end of the cable has a female port, allowing you to link a second cable.

So for example what is the difference between male and female USB?

The female connector (receptacle) is typically embedded into a device while the male connector (plug) is generally free-hanging so it can be placed on the end of a cable assembly for two or more devices to be interconnected at a time.